AZ Postgame: Kirk Ferentz Q&A

Kirk Ferentz seemed relatively pleased with the way his team played against Arizona on Saturday. Read what he had to say in his post-game press conference.

COACH FERENTZ:  Certainly, we're thrilled with the victory. I thought a great, great team effort on all counts, and, from the start of the game, our fans were just outstanding.  They stayed in the game.  Just absolutely, outstanding environment out there.

                It was a hard fought game.  We had tremendous respect for Arizona, watching them on film, not only this year but last year, and knew it would be a very, very tough game, hard-fought game and that's exactly what it was.

                So nothing came easy, and just really happy with the way our guys stuck with it.  Played the full game and I thought we really grew up a little bit in that second half, so that was great to see.

                And then the other, a lot of statistics there for you, but what he didn't mention is Ed Podolak is the first career honorary captain to go 2-0.  So we may be calling on him again soon, or in the very, very near future but just really happy for ed.  He did a great job talking with our team and being, with him today and every one of our guys on the football team, they are thrilled to death to have that weapon and thanks to Ed on that. 

      Q.  The goal line -- inaudible.

      COACH FERENTZ:  Sure did.  That seems to be our lucky goal line down at that end of the field.  That was a great play there, individual effort to throw them back.

      And then to give them a field goal instead of the touchdown, outstanding and all of those things are big, especially in a game like this where you know it's going to be close and it's going to be competitive.  And that's exactly what we expected this game to go the entire distance like it did. 

      Q.  You talked a lot about Tyler last week, but again, two picks today, definitely had one, but his big play, especially the interception?

      COACH FERENTZ:  Yeah, certainly he's playing like a safety; you hope a safety would.  I mentioned last week, we got two guys back that are really experienced now and are really playing well together.  They are kind of feeding off each other a little bit and that's really good to see so those guys are giving us some great play back there and that's a real positive for us.  

      Q.  At which end -- they all certainly contributed big time.

      COACH FERENTZ:  That's been a big part of our success, early success at least.  And unfortunately, and I mentioned this a couple weeks ago, we just haven't had much continuity because of our injury situation.  Some years are like that and some aren't, but all that being said, yeah, Reiff stepped in there and did a great job.

      Allen played an excellent football game, and he's really been doing well since last spring and all of the receivers I thought stepped up and made some plays.

      When guys go down, we lose guys, it's going to be part of the season.  And it's just really pleasing, gratifying to see younger guys step up and take advantage of that, and that was a big part of the game.  I don't mind telling you I was a little worried about our offensive situation going into the game knowing that none of those three guys were going to be able to play today. 

      Q.  Talk about them coming back, did you think -- inaudible.

      COACH FERENTZ:  Yeah, I think they all had a chance, that's the good news, but the bad news is there's no way to predict it right now.  So just have to kind of wait and see.  

      Q.  It worked out this time, Adam that got the ball --

      COACH FERENTZ:  Adam has been playing well.  I got excited about Brandon last week for good reason, and he played well today.  But Adam is really not much experienced than he is.  We have two guys that really haven't played very much, and I think probably what we saw with Adam today, he's benefitting from the experience a little bit.  He's gaining ground right now, and he really ran tough that one run on that draw was just a great effort on his part.

      We had some great individuals efforts out there today, McNutt's catch, may have had a couple of them, but one in particular.  It's good to see young guys doing some things like that. 

      Q.  When you call a player like that on third and 23, do you really have a sense that it can work like that?

      COACH FERENTZ:  It's kind of like they came skirting out of there, too, their draw play.  But you hope that, when it's 23, no, realistically, no, the odds are against you, and there are not a lot of great calls on third and 23, unfortunately.  That's about as good as anything.  You know, the guys got him started and it wasn't clean even from the beginning but a great, great effort. 

      Q.  Missing those three guys and still you dominate the time of possession, 38-22; how do you explain that?

      COACH FERENTZ:  It's twofold.  First of all, our defense did a great job.  They got a lot of three-and-outs, or close to.  And we got off to a great start in that first half.  We really had some good rhythm going outside of the one play there.

      And again, shifting back to the fourth quarter, I think maybe what happened in the first half caught up to them a little in the fourth quarter.  Their defense, they might have fatigued a little bit for good reason; they were on the field for a long time.

      Our guys, I thought they grew in that second half, everybody did, but that was really good to see. 

      Q.  Talk about that drive in the fourth quarter, a couple big thirds downs --

      COACH FERENTZ:  That was really great to see, and, with the way the game is going, it was tight, obviously.  It was good to see us get some points off a punt return, we got points off the pick.  You like to get touchdowns there but we come away with six points, and every point is significant in a game like this.

      And the drive you are alluding to, I thought that was really good to see.  We converted some real big third downs, tough third downs, and if we are going to have a winning football team this year, third down is big.  We did a much better job a year ago on that than we did the year before and obviously last week a lot better than week one.  At least I think we are growing right now and improving a little bit.  

      Q.  How important was it from a mental -- the situation after the first out when they had the big run --

      COACH FERENTZ:  When you can hold teams to a field goal and when they have the ball down and tight like that, that's -- it's a victory.  It's not what you want, but it's a victory.

      We would just assume they had not got down in there, but it helps.  I think it gives everybody a little confidence, and, our defense is making it tough to score touchdowns, which is really good to see.  

      Q.  Your players today -- are they injured in practice or what's happened?

      COACH FERENTZ:  You know Brian's situation was ongoing or had been ongoing.  Tony had someone fall on him and DJK played -- he's had nagging -- nagging issue problems.  So he walked in the building Sunday feeling worse, so just kind of, you know, things respond, they don't respond so we have got to right it out. 

      Q.  Any chance all three of those guys could play next week?

      COACH FERENTZ:  There's a chance; I don't know if it's a good chance.  I hope it's a good chance. 

      Q.  What does a win like this mean for you guys starting off 3-0?

      COACH FERENTZ:  Well, this whole season is going to be tough.  There's no easy segment and I think Norm Price said it best back in August.  He said, "You know, you can look at our schedule, our away portion of the schedule, how difficult that is.  If you look at the month of September, UNI, they have every reason to come in here and play strong, Iowa State/Iowa is always a big battle; Arizona with Stoops coming back here, and more importantly having a very good football team, a team that really grew last year.  And now we get to go to Penn State where it's going to be no walk in the park for sure.

      So you look at those four September games, I'm just glad we are coming out ahead three out of three so far, and you know, next week will probably be the toughest one out of all four of them so just see where we are at then.  

      Q.  Inaudible.

      COACH FERENTZ:  I just mentioned, I think they are aware of it, I think we are playing a Big Ten team next week.  So I think they all knew what I was talking about, and we will worry about those guys sometime tomorrow, 5:00, somewhere in that ballpark.  Right now we'll just enjoy this one right now, maybe dissect it tomorrow and then we'll move on. 

      Q.  Bringing in the defensive backs --

      COACH FERENTZ:  We feel like we have a decent group right now but we have had -- Prater was gone for two weeks, Castillo last week, so it's limited our choices, our options.  And Greg Castillo was out again, he was the fourth guy that was missing.  I think he's got a chance but his thing has not responded.

      So maybe we'll get him back next week.  But yeah we have a little bit more flexibility hopefully if we can keep everybody healthy and on the field. 

      Q.  I know the defense had a couple sacks coming in today but what is it like especially seeing Clayborn and a lot of backs putting pressure on the quarterback?

      COACH FERENTZ:  We have played okay on defense going into this game.  Just can't say we have been real thrilled.  You know, with us, early season tends to be that way in general.

      I think we are all a little disappointed maybe that we weren't playing better but I thought this week we practiced better, and I thought certainly today we looked a little bit more like what we hoped to see out of an Iowa defense.  It starts up front, when our guys are playing well up front that really helps us.

      We have been very fortunate and been able to enjoy some pretty good play up front the last couple of years, and today looked like we were back maybe playing the way we hope to play.  That's a big help.  I thought Adrian was really working hard, and that's great to see. 

      Q.  What does it say about the character of your team missing those guys?

      COACH FERENTZ:  I think our guys understand that's part of a football season, and you know, last year, offensively, Seth Olsen, we missed him three or four games, and outside of that we sailed right through it.   Some years are like that and some are the exact opposite.  You have no control over those things.  It's kind of like an officials call or something else.

      You've just got to play through it and I think we have got guys that know, they are willing to jump in there, they have been paying attention, Riley Reiff comes to mind; the guy red-shirted last year, and the exciting part is he's going to be a lot better football player two years from now.

      But I tell you what, he's out there competing against good players.  That guy he played against today was a good football player, all Pac 10 player and that's great, really exciting, and this is an experience that's going to help us down the road and help us hopefully get more guys coming back in instead of leaving a challenge there.  

      Q.  How big was the turning point with the goal line --

      COACH FERENTZ:  That hurt.  We have great respect for their whole team.  Greg is one heck of a football player, you saw that, he's a very dangerous back.  Any time you look like you're in a bad situation or the ball is down inside the two or whatever, if you can hold them to a field goal, especially early in the game that's a real positive, and I think our guys had a lot of confidence, at half-time we had given up a field goal offensively and gave them one on offense up and until the end we played pretty salty defense.


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